17 July 2016

More ATRs but less flights for Invercargill



Air New Zealand will be cutting the number of flights to and from Invercargill, and the city won't be getting a direct flight to Auckland. Airline officials said one daily flight from Invercargill Airport for every day of the week would be cut as of October 30 as part of a new schedule. Also as part of the new schedule, starting on October 30, flights from Invercargill to Christchurch will be operated exclusively on 68-seat ATR prop aircraft, with up to seven daily flights on weekdays and a new early morning flight from Christchurch to Invercargill. An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said overall passenger capacity would not be reduced, despite fewer flights, because the ATRs were larger than the aircraft currently in use on the route. NZ First MP Ria Bond said she was especially disappointed because of recent multimillion-dollar upgrades to the airport and lobbying by Southland business leaders for a direct flight to Auckland. "There seems to be no understanding that business people need to go to the Super City, yet many are driving to Queenstown or Dunedin just so they can get that direct flight," she said. "Apparently the focus is on getting people to connections for international flights, at the expense of local businesses who want to do a day's business in Auckland. It is ironic that the prime minister only recently opened a new airport at Invercargill and now Air New Zealand is cutting flights." Invercargill Airport's new, $13 million terminal was officially opened by Prime Minister John Key in April. Southland Chamber of Commerce president Carla Forbes said the chamber planned on speaking with business leaders about the decision and providing Air New Zealand with feedback. "We have found Air New Zealand to be committed to engaging with community stakeholders, working collaboratively to ensure they are operating a comprehensive domestic schedule delivering connectivity and consistency while also meeting the key needs of the Invercargill and Southland community." Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie​ said the new schedule would mean people could have a longer business day in Auckland because of earlier connections in Wellington and Christchurch. "The new connections and reliability will have a positive impact for both business and leisure travellers," she said. The Air New Zealand spokeswoman also said that flights from Invercargill to Wellington would use 50-seat Q300 aircraft from October 30. "Air New Zealand remains very much committed to serving Invercargill, and will continue to closely monitor our network to ensure capacity meets demand for services."

46 comments:

  1. Honestly complaints some people make. "...and now Air New Zealand is cutting flights". Well love guess what - they're dropping 1 flight per weekday but you still have up to 7 daily on a weekday. WHAT are you complaining about? YOU HAVE AN AIR NZ SERVICE with frequency AND capacity.

    And honestly do you think Air NZ is going to do direct flights to Auckland? About half of Air NZ's AKL-DUD A320 fights go via Wellington and when it's direct it's almost a 2 hour flight! What makes you think you're going to get a full days business in Auckland with a flight time of over 2 hours?!

    Honestly some people need to get a life

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  2. Okay..... a few points for our expert above... Yes, a drop of 1 daily flight in return for bigger aircraft is not exactly a crying matter. But bear in mind that WLG-IVC and TRG-CHC flights are or are near 2hrs long. And loads of people manage to do a full days business in the cities. Auckland - Invercargill flights were a thing back in the day, but were let go in favour of Air New Zealands 'small is more phase'. There is most definitely a market for direct flights to Auckland from Invers. BUT, maybe 170 seats is just a bit too much perhaps. As a resident of Te Anau, Invercargill is our closest airport. I try to support our fantastic airport when I fly, especially when it is closer and parking is fairly cheap! However, because ZQN has direct flights to Auckland, it is usually cheaper and less hassle to take advantage of those direct flights. Now if I was telling the media that I am disappointed that Air New Zealand is not offering direct flights from Te Anau to Auckland, THEN that would be acceptable grounds for being told to get a life. The above article doesn't scream that to me..

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    1. Yes, one frequency has been removed, yet seat numbers stay the same.
      The IVC-CHC product is now consistent and Dash 8's become available to be redeployed elsewhere.

      There IS a small market for IVC-AKL non stop.
      However there are several key points that need to be considered before people get all high and mighty.

      With Air NZ's current domestic fleet, it could only be operated by a 170 seat A320. Problems;

      - If this was to be announced, virtually straight away both capacity and frequency would be cut between IVC-CHC because the many passengers who use this method to get to AKL would no longer have to.

      - Reduced demand on CHC-AKL jet services exposes greater risk to competition with reduction in feed traffic from the provincial route.

      - IVC-AKL-IVC-AKL in the morning and AKL-IVC-AKL-IVC in the afternoon/evening would be 510 seats oneway (1020 total return) a day. Completely unrealistic.

      - An additional 320 would need to be purchased at a cost of $50 million to operate these services during prime time.

      - Airport security screening would need to be installed and staffed in IVC, for perhaps just two returns a day (realistically less)

      - Depending on the way it would be set up, it could result in all flights from IVC being security screened. This would increase ticket costs on ALL sectors and increase time required to get to the koru and departure lounges.

      - Modifications required to be made to the terminal, cost to airport company (council owned). Cost pass on to airport users.

      - Airline investment in ground equipment, tugs, airstairs and other equipment associated with the baggage container system for the 320.

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    2. Agree - it is totally impractical

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    3. Totally agree. Not enough people in the catchment to warrant as an A320 service.

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    4. Agree, simply not enough pax...The airport is jet ready and as we have seen Air NZ will fly in an A320 on one off events. Its a pity a Q300 doesn't do an IVC-ZQN-NSN hop.
      A quick AKL connection there.

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    5. Q300 will never return to flying to ZQN. The investment in training and avionics for what will soon be the lowest pax capacity aircraft in the fleet. Not gonna happen

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    6. The Q300 has not yet been to Queenstown only ATR and before that the HS748.

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    7. In the early days of Nelson Q300 ops they were used on some CHC - ZQN and charters. There are photos of the aircraft in ZQN around. About 10 heads ago

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  3. One thing people do tend to forget about and that is, the aircraft used in the by gone days 90 - 105 seater BAE 146 and 737-200s. Quick jets that made the direct Auckland flights practical and without eating too much into frequency. Rotorua a good example of the three 737-200 and Bae 146 daily although most of that was to do with a strong tourism back then.
    With growing..
    Something these 3rd levelers could look into for their long term planning.. getting a fast turbo prop or a 99 seater jet and "go under the radar" and go for some of these routes... but we are looking far into the future

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    1. ....far far into the future.

      Most of these so called "GA with turbines" outfits struggle to operate a 19 seater, let alone a 99 seater.

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  4. There's never been a direct IVC-AKL service... I agree its impractical. I am aware, however, a lot of Invercargill people drive to ZQN to catch a cheap and direct fare to AKL... It is this phenomena that is changing the face of the airline scene in NZ.

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    1. There has been direct links to IVC but not non stop.
      It seems like small town syndrome, but not a lot of demand or being a destination in itself with much, the big factor is just across the border in Otago is two major airports at DUD and ZQN that are within easy reach. One of the requests from IVC was an early morning link to DUD to connet which is a more realistic goal

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  5. The Air New Zealand Spokeswoman says 50 seater Q300 will used on IVC-WLG services from 30 October. Well they have been operated on this route for a number of years! Some research wouldn't hurt spokeswoman. Less flights sounds to me like another profit driven initiative from our national carrier, oh I mean Air Auckland?

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    1. There's been a few ATR's doing the run recently

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    2. Oh yes, Air Auckland. That's a new one.

      The fact is that Air New Zealand is a publicly listed company with an obligation to the shareholder to come up with as many profit driven initiatives as they can.

      They're not a charity for those who choose to live in the provinces.

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    3. Yes, correct publicly listed company, but majority shareholder is NZ Govt (53%) ie Taxpayers of NZ.
      Remember October 2001 when the Labour Govt bailed out the airline in $885 million rescue package and re-nationalised the airline taking a 76.5% stake. This spared the airline the same fate as Ansett Australia.
      People do have short memories?
      I think the Q300 will disappear in a few years time.

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    4. WeLington sort out your runway (that Air NZ pilots complain about) and maybe you'll find more international services from the National carrier.

      As for CHC - who cares that Air NZ just does A320 internationals. You have Emirates, Singapore Airlines, China Southern...

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    5. The crown share is non voting and has no sway over any decisions the company chooses to take.

      Unlike Australia, the USA, UK and Canada to name a few, New Zealand does not have state subsidies RPT air routes.
      Mostly serving remote parts of the country, some places are both larger and further away from key cities than towns served without subsidy here in NZ.

      This old oh we bailed them out thing has been flogged a decade too long. The amount paid has been more than paid back. The governments in AU and NZ of the day had other choices that lead to that eventually. But that's all part of history now.
      Grow up, move on and get some Worldly perspective

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  6. Direct flight will come. Betcha. Just wait for Qantas to free up some Q400s (be it new or used) for Jetstar NZ and you will get your Auckland Invercargill direct flights.

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    1. I seriously doubt Jetstar are going to start up a direct service when Air NZ who have a lot more infrastructure available won't do it. They'll go head to head again with Air NZ on an existing route first.

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    2. It would be the jewel in the crown of Grant Kerr. The Q400 in fhe 86 Seat 29inch configuration is perfectly suited to this long thin route. Air NZ have nothing to respond with.

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    3. It's called an ATR.

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    4. Q300 flies at maximum cruising speed of 520km/h. ATR72 flies at maximum cruising speed 518km/h. Add about 100km/h extra for the Q400. So a faster trip but also seats 78 (just over 1.5 times a Q300 and again better than ATR72). You wouldn't fill an A320 but you'd probably fill a Q400. However it's still a lot slower than an A320. Tough one to debate

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    5. The ATR can barely do WLG / IVC with little mucking around time for go arounds, weather and diverts. Non stop to AKL, absolutely dreaming. Headwind would be approaching 4 hours easy wouldn't it? I've done 2 and a half WLG - IVC.

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    6. 5000kg of fuel is the ATR's capacity, on average the burn is 600kg/hr, giving an available flight time of over 8 hours.... Of course travelling around with full tanks won't keep the accountants happy, but saying that WLG-IVC is "barely doable" is bit of a stretch... Even with a headwind, it could hold WLG as an alternate and depart with room for 1500-2000kg more fuel above the minimum dispatch.

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    7. It's simple, if air nz could link Invercargill with auckland in one direct flight, they would. There is plenty of demand for it. But it would be a very long stretch in the ATR, I doubt they could do it with any profitable number of passengers. The Q400 would be the perfect aircraft for the route, and would be about 40 minutes faster than the ATR. Make no mistake, Jetstar regional are not here for shits and giggles, they are here to be a solid and profitable competitor to Air NZ, there is room in the market for them and their business model. If there is a route that they could do that air nz couldn't, and there was demand for it, they will !
      To the fella above claiming 8 hours of endurance in the ATR; well thats great, if you have no passengers. With most aircraft you can either have tanks full of gas or seats full of passengers, but not both. Take your pick.

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    8. Yea looks like we've got a real PC desk pilot on our hands here. Some of us fly the thing.
      That route is about as far as you can go with a full flight, and it's tight. If the weather is bad down south you're gonna run out of alternates real quick and coming back to chc is a decent hour back north. No time to hold and muck around.

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    9. "Make no mistake, Jetstar regional are not here for shits and giggles, they are here to be a solid and profitable competitor to Air NZ, there is room in the market for them and their business model. If there is a route that they could do that air nz couldn't, and there was demand for it, they will !"

      Make no mistake Jetstar are not here to be a competitor to Air NZ, they are here to make money! If that means competing with Air NZ then so be it but they are here to make money!

      There is no demand for IVC AKL "that is a profitable market return". Unfortunately this is the honest truth about most routes that people try to put forward. Air NZ is a business and if they can make a profit from a new route you can bet that they will try to get into it, as would any other commercial business such as Jetstar.

      A business time table is great for the few that do business, but poor for the remainder of possible customers from VFR and the tourist market.

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    10. So with a ~40kt headwind southbound, you can hold Wellington as an alternate using give or take 3 tonne of gas. And that would limit you to around 55-57 pax and their bags, offloading 11-13. Given people are mentioning day trippers for business meetings, the briefcase brigade travel light. So the offload would be minimised by the hand luggage only crowd. Yes, some of us do fly the things and the route and have never flown a PC...

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    11. There is more than enough demand for at very least 1 return flight a day between ALK and IVC especially going by the number who do travel between the cities but via Dunedin chch and wellington. All major towns and cities have a direct link to Auckland bar Invercargill yet it is the most isolated. The problem, as mentioned don't have a suitable aircraft for the job. The only machine they could do it compfortably is the Airbus but that ain't ever going to happen there is no where near the demand to fill that many seats. The ATR would be sacrificing too many seats there for not worth it. The Q400 would be perfect thought a little bit of a stretch in poor weather but makes up for it in its speed.

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  7. There was a direct flight IVC to AKL 30 years ago NZ504 was the flight number via CHC same number same 737 all the way. But there has never been a non stop service between the two cities. Some on here get direct and non stop mixed up they are not the same. On the CHC to IVC route there is a slight reduction of daily seats available but this won't be a problem as there is more than enough to cater for demand.

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  8. Q 300 have been used on Invercargill-Wellington route for a number years nothing new there!!!!

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    1. Just cheap reporting. Love the winter flights as you get a great sunrise.

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  9. Also with the direct flights in the past the passengers from Invercargill going on to AKL were allowed to stay on the 737 in their seats at the 30 minute stop in Christchurch so being more convenient. Today there is only the transfer option with an aircraft change in CHC or WLG.

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    1. I think 5006/7 allowed you to sit and wait for HLZ-IVC-HLZ as that was ATR of the day's route. The 737 on the AKL-CHC-IVC run sometimes allowed you to sit and wait if they were running late. The Dunners morning flight was the same.

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  10. Air NZ is using the ATR's between IVC/CHC to link in with the A320 services between CHC/AKL/CHC plus SQ, QF, VA, NZ and EK international services ex CHC.

    An ATR carries more passengers than an Q300 allowing Air NZ to make the ATR the backbone of Air NZ regional fleet backed up with Q300.

    The new regional timetables from 1 Nov 16, have been fined tuned to provide better connections with the A320 domestic services plus reduce operating costs.

    Maybe in the future, as direct AKL/IVC/AKL might happen, but you would be looking at approx 2.5 hour non-stop flight each way.

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  11. I find it ironic that the small minded inhabitants of Invercargill and other insignificant podunk towns whinge endlessly about Auckland yet complain bitterly when they can't get a direct flight there.

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  12. What a ignorant comment^^

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    1. It's a bit rich to accuse somebody of being ignorant when you can't even string together a coherent sentence.

      My statement is based on fact.

      Generally speaking, small town New Zealand has a sense of parochial ignorance about it which extends to a lack of understanding of basic economic principles.

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    2. Absolutely, if we have a runway we should have an air service. If it's too short we should make it longer.

      Remote towns and cities in Australia, Canada and the U.K. For example, much larger than places served in NZ have no routes or the ones they do have are state subsidised.

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    3. Agreed who cares if a 50 seater has 3 passengers on it 'insert we saved their arse 15 years ago, rant' now there's some ignorance right there.
      Was good to see the herald place an article recently showing that cash was paid back and some over the past decade.

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    4. Air NZ are willing to add the service if consistent projected pax can be guaranteed over a 12 month period...Invercargill can't do this...BUT as they do have the facilities, can provide event one offs like the Oyster Festival and the new Motor Festival which Invercargill has joined with Grab-A-Seat to secure charter jet flights. Doing this more often will only encourage more people especially the bookend weekends of school holidays to fly what is the ultimate domestic long haul...thus demand forces supply. Invercargill has to do its bit if it wants its piece of Auckland.

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    5. What New Zealand needs to do, is to get another 2 million people to settle in the areas like Invercargill, Wanganui, Timaru, Oamaru, Whangarei, New Plymouth, Masterton, Westport, Hokitika and NOT in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin and you will find, that Air NZ regional will increase services plus there will be a growth of air services by 2nd and 3rd carrier.

      Unfortunately New Zealand's population is just not big enough at the moment to support regional air services that people want.

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  13. ^Queenstown is an exception there. Growing population but still only has 16,000 people; if it wasn't for tourism their main airport would be Invercargill.

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